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Samantha Lord-Konare converted to Islam six years ago and then she found herself in a quandary because of a student and credit card loan that her new religion prohibited. Lord-Konare vowed not to use her credit card but resolving the issue of her student loan was more challenging.
She consulted the imam who presented her with four options. She could pay off her loan in one lump sum, obtain an interest-free loan, receive the money as a gift, or do her best to pay off her student loan as quickly as she could. "Of course, I had to choose the last. I could never ask someone for that amount of money," said Lord-Konare.
Islamic scholars say there is a clear prohibition on usury in the Koran. The Shariah also stipulates that Muslims should acquire wealth in a legal and ethical manner; any element of usury, gambling or chancing is forbidden.
Faith-based advisors assist clients with financial planning, investment management, insurance, and other aspects of wealth management that their secular counterparts do. But according to Kingdom Advisors President Rob West, faith-based advisors generally help clients determine "what’s enough" for them to live on and use the rest to "serve others". One example is Ronald Blue & Co., a US$65-billion multi-branch advisory firm that incorporates religious values and laws into financial plans. While some faith-based advisory firms cater to lower-value investors, many serve relatively high-net-worth clients and charge higher than the standard 1% of assets per year. At Islam-oriented Azzad Asset Management, fees start at 1.75% to 2% of assets and decline with increasing asset values. The high fees are justified by labour-intensive services such as screening out certain stocks and calculating the zakat.
Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji, the head of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, is intent on brokering safe, considered deals that yield long-term growth. The wealth fund is taking an increased interest in the comparatively stable sectors of healthcare, education and industry. As evidence of this strategy, Mumtalakat last year took an undisclosed equity stake in Italian healthcare firm KOS Group. In October 2015, Mumtalakat took a majority stake in UAE-based GEMS Education as part of an investment group that included US private equity firm Blackstone. Al Kooheji expects another deal to be reached next year to launch GEMS schools in Bahrain. He also points out that Mumtalakat announced six new deals in 2016, a significant number for a small fund. According to Al Kooheji, Mumtalakat is now truly diversifed in the GCC, US, UK and Europe and this will continue in the future.
Shariah-compliant pension funds are entering the wealth and asset management segment worldwide. One example for a state-backed Shariah-compliant pension fund is the Islamic savings scheme option introduced in Malaysia. Here $25bn of the fund’s entire assets of $160bn have been dedicated to the new Shariah-compliant investment line. According to Moody’s global head of Islamic finance, Khalid Howladar, Shariah-compliant investments now represent 15% of the fund’s entire investment, which makes it the largest standalone Islamic pension fund globally. Another country where Islamic pension funds are in growing demand is Pakistan. A number of banks, financial service providers and fund managers offer private or voluntary state-supported retirement savings schemes whose investments are made strictly in Shariah-compliant instruments. In the Western World, the UK and Australia were the first to offer Islamic pension schemes. In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Islamic pension funds are yet comparably small, particularly state-backed ones.
Summit will explore intersection of #fintech, #ESG and #Islamicfinance. #RFISummit17
January 24, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland –
Bringing together a diversity of perspectives is critical for continuing the growth occurring within responsible finance. On this premise, the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2017 will convene in Zurich, Switzerland from 3-4 May 2017 around the theme “Building Bridges, Expanding Impact”.
Recent estimates from industry stakeholders show continued growth in responsible finance assets in many geographies and sectors. Responsible investment in Europe grew by 42% during the past 2 years, while in the U.S., assets grew by 33%. In Islamic finance, which has a global presence with a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, growth in the last 2 years has been 21%. Identifying actionable areas for collaboration will support continued growth towards a more sustainable financial system.
Wahed Invest announces the launch of Wahed, the first automated Islamic investment platform, to provide access to halal portfolio management for 2 billion Muslims around the world. The Wahed platform analyzes thousands of securities worldwide to create portfolio allocations with the highest growth potential for its clients. According to CEO Junaid Wahedna, the platform democratizes access to the best financial advice for investors. Wahed offers portfolio management for investments as little as $7,500, as opposed to the usual $500,000 minimum required by most wealth management firms. Wahed Invest is currently accessible in the United States and will be available in more than 100 countries by 2017.
According to the annual benchmark report of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the global growth of asset management stalled in 2015 as the industry recorded its worst year since the 2008 financial crisis. Growth in assets under management (AuM) stalled — or in the case of the Middle East declined 10%. Flows of assets, revenue growth and revenue margins all dipped lower in 2015. AuM decreased in North America and the Middle East but rose elsewhere. Growth was modest in Europe and strong in Latin America and Asia, excluding Japan and Australia. The 10% growth of AuM in Asia, excluding Japan and Australia, was relatively robust. BCG reports that the global value of AuM rose just 1% in 2015, to $71.4 trillion from $70.5 trillion in 2014, after growing 8% that year. Asset managers will have to shift from outdated product strategies and develop disruptive investment capabilities.
In #Indonesia the National Police have warned the public to be on guard against fraudulent investment companies. Criminal Investigation Department director Agung Setya said investors who understood investment often fell prey to fraudsters because of greed, while other were lured by religious symbols and public figures. He cited as an example the 2007 Gama Smart Karya Utama case and the 2012 Langit Biru cooperative case, in which the founders claimed to be spiritual leaders. Data show that fraudulent investments lead to billions of rupiah in losses per year. In 2007, losses amounted to Rp 16.13 trillion (US$1.21 billion), but decreased to Rp 604 billion in 2008. In 2011 and 2012, losses rose to Rp 68.62 trillion and Rp 10.22 trillion, respectively, but declined to Rp 235 billion (2014) and 285 billion (2015).
The race to tap an US$11.5 trillion pool of wealth held by Muslim individuals, institutions and governments is intensifying. The asset management units of Malaysia's RHB Bank and Indonesia's PT Bank Mandiri plan new Islamic funds. RHB Group Asset, which oversees 54 billion ringgit ($13.5 billion), will offer new Islamic funds in Malaysia and may make some of them available in Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and the Middle East. The Indonesian Mandiri Manajemen’s plan for more Shariah investment vehicles comes after the company’s global Islamic stock fund drew $10 million from institutional investors when it was set up on Aug. 4. According to Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre, the global Islamic asset management industry is forecast to grow to $77 billion by 2019 from $58 billion at the end of 2015.
There is evidence both in the Quran and Hadith that supports wealth succession planning and management. A starting point for a discussion on Islamic wealth management would be the Quranic verses in Surah al-Kahf (Surah no. 18). There are lessons that we may draw from these Quranic verses. These verses indicate that although a person cannot foresee future events, he/she should take measures and have plans to manage their unfavourable effects on life and family welfare. That parents may have a succession plan through which the wealth earned could be transferred to children in the safest possible way.
A few weeks ago we saw the launch of a Sharia-compliant mobile phone-based loan service. The new service, called Trust Network Finance was rolled out by Allianz in Indonesia. TNF reflects the big opportunities in Indonesia for mobile money and for Sharia-compliant services.
Although roughly 60% of Indonesians have a mobile phone, only 3% of the population is reportedly aware of mobile money. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, and Sharia-compliant finance has grown over the past few decades in the country; however by the end of 2016 Islamic financial institutions in Indonesia are only expected to hold 5% of the nation’s total banking assets.
Of the country’s roughly 250 million citizens, 60% are unbanked. It’s estimated that there are 50 million MSMEs in Indonesia, which make up about 97% of the country’s enterprises.
Fisch Asset Management says Middle East credit ratings are likely to come under further pressure due to low oil prices and an increase in primary issuance will support market liquidity. According to Philipp Good, head of portfolio management at Fisch, the region has the highest average ratings globally, but budget deficits need to be addressed through a combination of investment and reform.
Singapore charged a former wealth manager at Swiss private bank with forgery as part of a money laundering investigation related to 1Malaysia Development. The forgery charge is the seventh filed against Yeo Jiawei, a 33-year-old Singaporean banker. While the charges didn't mention 1MDB by name, they stem from investigations into the fund's money flows. The prosecutors charged Yeo with "fraudulently" signing a reference letter to the head of anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance of Citigroup Inc in Europe.
OCBC Malaysia head of consumer financial services Lim Wyson said increasing the number of products under the Islamic asset class will appeal to a broader range of investors. The size of Malaysia’s Islamic capital market had more than tripled over the last 10 years, with an average growth of 11.7% per annum and accounted 60% of the entire capital market in the country.
On the 10th anniversary of its presence in the Middle East, Lombard Odier demonstrates its long term commitment to the region by expanding its activities and services in the UAE. The team is also celebrating by moving its office location to the Conrad Business Tower. Patrick Odier, Senior Managing Partner of the Lombard Odier Group, said the bank maintains focus on wealth and investment management for private and institutional clients across the region.
The General Council of Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions launched its Global Forum 'Rethinking Values for Sustainable Growth' in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. The Forum was attended by delegates from more than 28 countries. Special keynote guest Dr. Mark Mobius covered expert views on MENA and emerging markets including the impact of oil prices on economies, as well as what structural reforms are required for sustainable growth.
#Debt continues to be a major source of instability for the global economy. Since 2007, global debt has grown by $57trillion or 17 % of GDP. Since 2007, no major economies and only five developing economies have reduced the ratio of debt to GDP in the real economy. In contrast, 14 countries have increased their total debt-to-GDP ratios by more than 50 percentage points. Over 20 countries now have debt-to-GDP ratios above 200 per cent, led by Japan (400 %).
What if the hundreds, even thousands of existing local currency initiatives were interoperable? Could they constitute a global system of exchange and offer at least a partial alternative to a dominant parasitic financial system? What are the social and technical obstacles to scaling grassroots initiatives which grow out of local community action?
The Credit Commons is a proposal from the builders of two of the largest blocs of community currencies in the world. Tim Jenkin, developer of Community Exchange Systems and Matthew Slater, developer of Hamlets and cofounder of Community Forge. A new white paper introduces the a backbone accounting infrastructure, touches on the economics and the technology, and describes the parts already in place. A small but diverse group has formed around the initiative and set up creditcommons.net where the paper is hosted and developments can be recorded.
In the years since the 2008 global financial crisis, austerity and balance-sheet repair have been the watchwords of the global economy. And yet today debt is fueling concern about growth prospects worldwide. The McKinsey Global Institute notes in a study that gross debt has increased about $60 trillion – or 75% of global GDP – since 2008. China’s debt, for example, has increased fourfold since 2007, and its debt-to-GDP ratio is some 282% – higher than in many other major economies, including the United States. A global economy that is levering up, while unable to generate enough aggregate demand to achieve potential growth, is on a risky path. But to assess how risky, several factors must be considered.